Strong Connections

Maybe you should mix a few Ritalin tablets in with your Junior Mints before seeing Tiffany Shlain’s documentary Connected. It’s a hyperkinetic collage of found footage and animation that explores how the human brain has adapted as the ways we connect as a species has changed. Though it’s a documentary, most of the information it imparts isn’t surprising. (Examples: Albert Brooks makes great wedding toasts, the United States landed on the moon, etc.). But Shlain mixes the narrative of her father’s terminal illness and her own pregnancy with a complete survey of human history. In the film’s 80-minute running time, a fair bit gets simplified between the Big Bang and right-this-very-second. If you want nuance, stick with Shark Week. Shlain’s father was Leonard Shlain, who wrote extensively about the relationships between art and science. He looked for patterns of concurrence, such as how the cubists were refiguring the link between space and time at the same moment Einstein was. Looping and frenzied, his daughter’s film puts a human face on his ideas and expands it into a beautiful high-wire act. All you’ll learn is that, yes, we are connected, something that will shock only those viewers who didn’t expect the fifth installment of The Fast and the Furious to be the fastest and most furious yet. And it’s not like you didn’t know that Vin Diesel is a badass before that one.
Wed., Jan. 30, 7:30 & 9 p.m., 2013


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